Daily Briefing: Highway drama over Delhi BJP leader Tajinder Bagga’s arrest; Why state govts love the sedition law

From A political slugfest between the AAP and BJP over the arrest of BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, to why China’s decision to postpone the Asian Games has thrown the 2023 sports schedule into disarray – here are the top stories from today’s schedule.

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In an operation that pitted Punjab Police against their counterparts in Delhi and Haryana and led to a political slugfest between the BJP and AAP, Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga was arrested from his Janakpuri residence in connection. The journey to take him to Punjab, though, was cut short with police in Haryanaing the Punjab Police convoy, the Delhi Police filing an FIR against Punjab personnel for abducting Bagga, and eventually managing to bring him back from Kurukshetra to the national capital.

Politics trumping process — this lies at the heart of the row over the arrest of Delhi BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga. Inter-state arrests are routine and they mandate cooperation between the local police and the police where the offence is said to have taken place. The CrPC guides both letter and spirit. But the Bagga case has shown how bitter politics transforms a routine procedure into a full-blown inter-state row and sets a disturbing precedent for states to prevent arrest by another state or the Centre.

Only in the Express

asking people not to fall into the communal trap, Yashwant Sinha writes: India is sinking deeper by the day in the quicksand of communal hate and violence. The PM has not uttered a word so far on these developments nor appealed for peace amongst the warring groups. Moreover, the economic situation is grim, especially on the employment front, and what better way can there be to divert the attention of the unemployed than to get them involved in religious strife?

From the Front Page

From an editorial linked to a government hoarding to remarks against the Prime Minister in a pre-poll speech, from a video clip with disputed audio to a message on a housing society WhatsApp group — all of these have been booked for sedition for offences punishable with Imprisonment upto three years and a fine, or imprisonment for life and a fine. An analysis by The Indian Express shows that governments across the country have wielded the charge seemingly at the drop of a hat against a sweeping range of alleged offences.

The Enforcement Directorate has conducted raids at 18 locations in four states, including premises linked to Jharkhand Mining Secretary Pooja Singhal, as part of its probe in a case of money laundering involving the alleged diversion of MGNREGA funds. The probe is tied to a case registered five years ago but the raids come at a time when Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren is facing charges of corruption for allegedly allotting a mining lease in his favor and a plot of land to his wife.

There is a Covid cloud over the availability of foreign coaches To groom India’s next generation of javelin throwers after Neeraj Chopra’s historic gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Keen to build on Chopra’s success, the Athletics Federation of India was looking to hire coaches from Finland, the world’s javelin powerhouse. However, nine months down the line, the shortlisted coaches are still reluctant to travel to India where the official Covid count so far is 5.2 lakh deaths and 4.3 crore positive cases.

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A wall with windows juts out into Platform No. 1 at Agra’s Raja Ki Mandi Railway Station, creating a narrow pocket near the curb. The portion belongs to the Chamunda Devi Temple, and has now become a flashpoint between right-wing groups and railway authorities. On April 12, the temple received a notice from the Indian Railways, stating that its “premises is situated on encroached land” and that it must be given back to the authorities. Soon, right-wing, including the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Rashtriya Hindu Parishad, among others, protesters began against the move, calling it an “attack on Hindu faith”.

The arrest of BJP leader Tejinderpal Singh Bagga by Punjab Police on Friday precipitated a crisis after the Delhi Police registered a case of kidnapping against the Punjab Police team that apprehended Bagga. While transporting Bagga to Punjab, the team was then detained by Haryana Police en route and questioned on the basis of a warrant that Delhi Police got issued from a city court. By evening, Delhi Police had escorted Bagga back to the national capital. We explain the process for inter-state arrests and whether these guidelines are followed by the police.

With China deciding to postpone the Hangzhou Asian Games, which were scheduled to be held from September 10 to 25, in the face of rising Covid-19 cases, the Olympic Council of Asia is staring at a narrow window where no major championships are already scheduled to conduct its flagship event. While there was some speculation around a possible delay, the decision took many by surprise. “The decision is surprising,” Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Batra said. “I am not happy with it especially since the fresh dates or at least tentative month have not been declared. The lack of clarity affects the planning and preparation of the athletes.”

And finally

this week, Shubhra Gupta reviews the Anil Kapoor and Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor starrer ‘Thar’: This is one of those films where the setting is the real hero– the ‘marusthal’ (desert) stretching as far as the eye can see, crumbling forts, bare trees providing meager shade Old implacable hard beauty.

🤫 Delhi Confidential: As a run-up to the International Day of Yoga on June 21, the Ayush Ministry has begun a countdown for all Union ministries. As part of the programme, each ministry is to conduct yoga sessions for its staff on the assigned day. With two ministries under his belt — Environment and Labor — Bhupender Yadav will join his staff on two separate days to do yoga before beginning routine office work.

until tomorrow,
Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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